Pro-independence Esquerra party leader goes into exile

Marta Rovira announces “tough” decision in a letter shortly before she was to appear in court

Marta Rovira, ERC's secretary-general (by Norma Vidal)
Marta Rovira, ERC's secretary-general (by Norma Vidal) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

March 23, 2018 10:34 AM

The pro-independence Esquerra party secretary general Marta Rovira has gone into exile. She announced the decision only minutes before she was due to appear in Spain’s Supreme Court for a hearing. She is under investigation for her role in the independence bid but is currently free on bail. The judge was to review her status in court on Friday. “Exile will be a tough path, but it is the only way for me to recover my political voice,” she said in the letter to Esquerra party members. However, she did not reveal her destination.

“I cannot hide the deep sadness I feel moving away from so many people that I love,” she added. The reasons she gave for her decision include “not feeling free” in Catalonia. “I feel sad, but it would have been much sadder to live in silence inside myself, to feel my freedom of expression censored by courts that intimidate and that shamelessly apply political criteria.” Rovira went on to say that while being investigated and on bail she felt her freedom “limited by arbitrary judicial threats.” “I did not feel free, I did not recognize myself, I have lived in an internal prison these past few weeks,” she said.